Arsenal stars faced reality as the Gunners collided with PSV defeat

Mikel Arteta had urged his fringe Arsenal players to speak out on the Eindhoven pitch. If this was his attempt to get lyrical, this was a sobering reality check for those campaigning for more frequent opportunities.

For some, namely Albert Sambi Lokonga and Eddie Nketiah, this was a potentially defining night in their Arsenal careers as they failed to cut the mustard in a one-sided 2-0 loss that could easily have been for more if not. It would have been for PSV’s waste and the linesman’s flag.

A single point would have been enough for Arsenal to consolidate first place in Group A and, while that remains highly likely on Matchday 6 against FC Zurich, that game is no longer the dead rubber Arteta longed for three days before the match. Premier League trip to Chelsea. .

This was an invaluable opportunity to secure top position and mathematically avoid an awkward knockout clash against a prominent Champions League dropout from a group of big names that included Barcelona, ​​Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Sevilla. , wasted.

And if there’s one thing to take away from this toothless Arsenal display, it’s that nothing in football is guaranteed, as last weekend’s problem at Southampton soon turned into a wobble.

After Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons had two first-half goals disallowed for offside, PSV had strength in their teeth after the break and asserted their superiority when Joey Veerman fired in the opening goal in the 55th minute.

Lokonga, who had expressed his frustration at the lack of playing time during a racy interview in the Belgian press, was immediately substituted for losing his marker in the build-up to the goal, assisted by substitute striker Luuk de Jong.

The former Newcastle and Barcelona leader, whose half-time performance made the difference, then headed in a second when the unconvincing Aaron Ramsdale failed to clear from a corner kick.

Arsenal had their own chances, but their lack of avant-garde was mercilessly punished. Gabriel Martinelli volleyed in the first half, while backup striker Nketiah failed to prove his point as he squandered a glorious opening that would have dragged the Gunners back into the game.

The North London side remains top of the pile, but there is still work to be done before they officially dodge an unwanted banana skin in the round of 32.

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